Wed, 06 Jun 2018
SINGAPORE - The US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Food Innovation and Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic signed a partnership agreement in May that furthers US dairy's commitment to food innovation to meet the needs of Southeast Asian customers and consumers.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) lays out a framework under which USDEC and US dairy suppliers will work together with FIRC to deepen dairy knowledge, develop innovative food products for the Southeast Asian market, and provide consumers in the region with more options suited to their specific tastes.
"Singapore is a hotbed of food innovation and the gateway to Southeast Asia," said USDEC president and CEO Tom Vilsack. "FIRC's team of food technologists, packaging specialists and engineers is at the forefront of establishing Singapore as a strategic food hub. We are very excited to be working with this innovative group and look forward to sharing U.S. dairy technology and expertise."
FIRC, a joint venture between Singapore Polytechnic and Enterprise Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, was formed in 2007 to provide food companies with technical expertise in new product and process development. It is part of the government's vision to position Singapore as a leading food and nutrition hub in Asia.
"One of FIRC's objectives is to leverage science and technology to develop food innovations and capture new markets," said Loong Mann Na, Centre Director FIRC. "We expect the dairy knowledge and spirit of innovation brought by USDEC and its members will advance progress toward that goal."
US Dairy is not new to the region. USDEC has staffed an office in Southeast Asia since 1998, and currently around two-dozen USDEC member companies have personnel based in Singapore or Southeast Asia.
"This partnership allows US dairy suppliers to be at the forefront of the product development process, become more customer-centric and enhance their level of service," said Martin Teo, technical director, food applications, with USDEC’s Singapore office.
Mr Teo will serve as the key contact between US dairy suppliers and FIRC. When he joined USDEC in March of this year, he brought with him 25 years of experience in the Southeast Asian food industry. Like the FIRC MOU, he is part of the broader US plan to deepen US dairy ties with Southeast Asia and meet the region’s dairy needs.